Ear, nose, and throat cancer: ultrasound diagnosis of metastasis to cervical lymph nodes

Radiology. 1984 Sep;152(3):771-3. doi: 10.1148/radiology.152.3.6463260.


We present the results of a study on the value of ultrasound in the detection of metastasis to the cervical lymph nodes in connection with cancer of the ear, nose, and throat. Comparison of clinical, ultrasound, and histological findings for 100 patients who underwent surgery revealed that clinical examination had a sensitivity of 78% versus 92.6% for ultrasound. All 18 cases of thrombosis of the internal jugular vein were detected by ultrasound. Clinical staging of the disease was modified in 28 of these patients based on ultrasound findings, including three false positive findings. Ultrasonographic follow-up at three months for a second group of 110 patients who did not undergo neck dissection provided prognostic information, since lesion stability or progression was correlated with death in less than one year in 41 of 43 patients. Ultrasound is of primary value in providing information of an anatomic nature, including the detection of subclinical lymph nodes, volumetric evaluation, and determination of vascular connections, particularly detection of internal jugular venous thrombosis. Furthermore, for patients whose necks have been thickened as a result of radiotherapy, ultrasound allows assessment of local status.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Neck Dissection
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Ultrasonography*


  • Antineoplastic Agents